ALBANY – Assemblyman Karim Camara, a Brooklyn Democrat who chairs the New York Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus is urging the federal Department of Justice to object to the set of new Senate lines adopted last month.
Camara says the Republican-drawn plan disadvantages the electoral representation of racial minorities in violation of the Voting Rights Act. They’ve been voted into law, but the Department of Justice must now determine whether the redistricting maps comply with the VRA.
This letter mentions not only points to possible disadvantages, but also claims that districts downstate, where minorities are concentrated, are larger than predominately white upstate districts. It also questions the Republicans’ decision to place a 63rd Senate seat along the western and southern edges of the Capital Region.
Senate Democrats are already challenging the lines in court. They contend the decision to upsize the chamber to 63 seats was reached based on an unlawful interpretation of the State Constitution. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, have always contended their redistricting plan complies with the tenets of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the federal and state constitutions.